A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Men in Nursing

I was reading some comments over at Fark.com about men in nursing. It seems as though I was linked to over there. Here's a smattering:
"RNs with specialty degrees make very good money. Double bonus is the number of hot chicks that also take nursing courses and career paths. Engineers make good money, but their schools and career paths are just way too male dominated."

Putting up with the stupid coont drama sucks, and no, nurses are NOT all hot and sexy. I can think of only one I've met who I would consder. The rest are fat farking slobs or skanks.

I'm a male nurse, So I know I'll get a kick out of these replies.

"what's wrong, Mister Nurse?
tired of being chastized
for teh ghey career"

"My Mom was a RN for over 50 years, and when asked if she would do it all over again, she says yes. She's in her 80's and still works a couple of days a week at the local hospital. I don't recall her making that much money, though. She is all pissed off because she can't go to Pittsburgh on Monday for some training conference because none of us kids have the time to drive her. She is threatening to drive herself. God help us all! Must hide car keys.

Mom knew a guy years ago who was a male nurse. He had a very hard time getting a job as a RN, he usually got offered jobs as an orderly, in spite of having a graduate degree. People thought it was weird for a guy to be a nurse back in the olden days. I can just imagine what people thought: homo, child molester, rapist etc. I think he finally moved out the the west coast and did much better in his field. Funny how things change. I can remember when female doctors were rare."

Me = newly single guy nurse

I get asked "What made you decide to become a male nurse?"

My reply is always "Once I considered the alternative I was more than happy to keep my penis."

What kind of a dickhead makes fun of a dude who's a nurse?

Especially since most of them were medics or corpsmen in the military. Combat medics have balls of cast iron.

"91B30 here! And I lost my original balls to an Iraqi mortar. Had 'em replaced with titanium alloy implants. Lighter and stronger than steel, more corrosion resistant than iron."

"I make fun of nurses just like I make fun of any other person whose job can be replaced by a robot loaded with a medical database. Get a real education."

"Male nurses: Too stupid to be doctors, too LOL to be real men."

"Please don't call them "your" patients. Doctors have their own patients, nurses don't. Nurses are just undereducated little helpers to real medical workers."

"As someone that has been in and out of the hospital for the last three weeks I would have to tend to agree. All doctors think that they are the smartest person and doctor in the damned world.

I went in with horrible acid reflux and abdominal pain by ambulance. The smart doctors decided that I needed four days of starving leading up to heart tests instead of a gastroenterologist. THey found nothing. Finally my RN spoke up to the doctors, and I got a GI consult. There was erosion in my esophagus amd stomach. Ta da, a genius diagnosis."

"as a doc i appreciate a good nurse. i very rarely have found a male nurse who was not absolutely excellent at thier job, maybe it's over compensation. with a code going, a drunk in dts, etc give me a good male nurse anyday. btw no disrespect to female nurses. a good nurse is a good nurse."

"Friend of mine is a Major who's been a nurse in the US Army for 20 years. He loves it. Spends all day in the cool clean hospital putting ace bandages on recruits and surrounded by young women, while other soldiers are runnning their butts off out in the heat getting screamed at.

If you look at him funny when he says "I'm a nurse" you are not going to like your hospital stay. And he'll be the one who put you there in the first place."

"Former Navy Corpsman and NYC Paramedic, Corrections Nurse and now ER RN (both in Bronx) checking in.

1) not that hard, guys. One day you might have kids, the getting past "icky" vomit, feces, urine and-god-knows-what not a bad skill to pick up. Although I get funny looks from nurses in my daughter's pediatrician's office when I request gloves to collect a urine sample from her).

2) Much less with teh ghey than I thought (more when I was in the Navy, believe it or not). Biggest professional job hazard: Old school nurses that feel threatened by a male in workplace.

3) There's drama and gossip if that's your thing (and I got a buddy who hunts to get away from his wife and kids occasionally who loves surfing the social milieu) or you can ignore it- and that's where the women come for a break from all the yenta-ing.

Otherwise, it's just a job, man- you have the opportunity to make some real differences in folk's lives, but holy crap, it ain't the mystical angel quiet servant of the doctor's word."

"Nurses are like the NCOs of the medical profession. Absolutely necessary and nothing to laugh about, male or female."

"they need someone to lick doctors assses and do 90% of the work and make 10 or 15% of the profit while the hospital administrators laugh all the way to the bank as they pay their lobbyist(american medical association) to bribe congressmen to get what they want. ain't freedom great??"

"want to work 60 to 80 hours/week? be a nurse."

"I work at a large Catholic hospital. There is definitely a "hierarchy" of nurses, depending on the nurses' education and motivation. The brightest and the best nurses usually have a specialized degree and are surgical, obstetric, or research nurses. The floor or ward nurses (the ones that tend to patients in hospital beds) are generally (though not always) the bottom of the barrel. These are the fat, cigarette-smoking drama queens that you all have been referencing. They are generally have a lower class and/or rural upbringing and pursued nursing because it was their best (or sometimes only) opportunity to get a decent job with minimal schooling (Associate's Degree).

However, it seems that male floor/ward nurses are exemplary. They are extremely kind, caring and competent. It takes balls to ignore the stereotypes and snide comments from friends, family members and strangers. Basically, men become nurses because it is what they are passionate about and they don't give a darn what others think...not because they need a way out of the trailer park."

" think everyone does it - you know, use various litmus tests to make sure the people they're around aren't complete idiots. If someone's a bigot, they're in the garbage heap. If someone's overly critical for the sake of being so, they're gone.

Making fun of someone's vocation because it doesn't fit stereotypes - yeah, that marks you as a moron of the first order. There's no need for reply, because I'm already done listening to you. Forever.

I don't think I'm the only one that has this particular filter."

"Both my folks graduated from nursing school. Mom kept going back to school, Dad stayed a nurse.
One day, someone asked my father when he graduated nursing school.
"1976," he said.
"Weren't all the male nurses still gay then?"
In all seriousness, though, there are a lot of steelworkers and coal miners who lost their jobs and got retrained as nurses.
Tell THEM they're not manly."

These examples, dear reader, are why I often say that male nurses suffer the last acceptable sexism on the job. It comes from all sides, simply because they are male, and is legitimized through acceptance. It's a wonder that nursing has the men in the profession that it does.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went into the Navy in 1970 and retired in 1992 as a chief corpsman. I have to admit I looked a little strangely at male nurses at first but got over it. I saw some real discrimination from older nurse corp officers against male nureses in the 70s but by the time I retired it was pretty well hidden if it existed. A nurse is a nurse and like any field there are mixed abilities. Some stop learning when they get their license while others keep on getting better like you have done.


6:23 PM  
OpenID reflectoscope said...

If I am at a point in my life where I need a nurse in a professional capacity, I'm pretty certain I won't be concerned with which washroom they use.


6:27 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

My wife is a nurse and my stepson was is in the Army and first trained as a combat medic and recently completed training as a LVN he hopes to receive his RN while in the Army. Having said all that, I know a little something about nurses. My son had no qualms at all about being a male nurse and neither do his wife, daughter or proud parents.

8:08 PM  
Blogger El Capitan said...

Not quite the last profession...

A good friend in college majored in education, with a view towards teaching K-6. After running the gauntlet of the 98% female staff & admin. in endless, fruitless elementary school interviews, he was finally told (off the record) that it would be a cold day in hell before they hired a man to teach at a level less than junior high.

Too many moms objected to having their precious snowflakes around a man, the assumption being that if you're not manly enough to want to be coaching Varsity, you must be some kind of perverted kiddy-diddler.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Rabbit said...

I achieved my BSN at a State university nearly 20 years ago. Most of the males in my cohort were 'attrited' out by the female academics who were of the single mind that "men were only in it for the money and were taking a place that should be held by a female". Unless they were gay.

Being neither female nor gay, I sucked it up and defied the pressure to 'go do something else and give my spot to a woman who deserved it'. Graduated in the top 5% of my class, worked neuro ICU and then in a neurooncology practice. I loved every minute of my career, but the hoop-jumping to get there sure will put you off unless you are prepared for it.


9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well if that get old you can just refer to your self as being from the south. I am sure that won't cause any negative stereotypes.

1:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Lots of stereotypes on that site, period.

In my very close to 26 years in nursing, I've worked with a number of nurse who happened to be male. Most were excellent nurses, co-workers, bosses, employees. The ones who weren't, well, that had nothing to do with gender.

I've worked with a lot of great female nurses, too, don't get me wrong, but of the people I've encountered who have tried to make my life a misery, 100% have been female. The guys just generally get the job done and go home. (That's talking about nurses. Doctors are a different story).

And yes, I am female.

Another nurse with a gun.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Weetabix said...

Now that I think of it, I know three male nurses - fathers of boys in my son's small Scout troop. We went to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail last summer. I wouldn't go unless at least one of them agreed to go.

I can't think of any stereotype these guys fit.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Grumpyunk said...

I'm darn glad I got into Nursing after the Army. Beats the hell out of seasonal layoffs in construction. The BS stereotyping is still there, but it's fun to turn on the lisp and swish a bit to make the ignorant feel uncomfortable. Over half of our ER staff are males and most are volunteer firemen and first responders, emt's and paramedics to boot. 3 of these guys have been boxers or MMA fighters which surprises the drunken tuff guys who start stuff in the ER!

12:53 PM  
Blogger DouginSalcha said...


As a retired Army Master Sergeant, I have worked twice in an Army MEDDAC. Once while on active duty, and once as a civilian after retirement. Additionally, my two sisters are RNs in the civilian side of medicine and my mother (now deceased) spent nearly 40 years in medical administration.

Most recently, I have known men and women both in the military and civilian sides of the medical/nursing professions. Most are truly decent and hardworking professionals and I respect their dedication and compassion. I think the highest ranking commissioned officer male nurse I've encountered was a Lieutenant Colonel. Some of the female Colonels were the epitomy of what I think nursing should be 'all about' but some were cold and ruthless.

Oh, one thing further, while I don't know for a fact that any of the ranking female nurses were Lesbian (I complied with the Army Policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"), I suspect some of them were not only lesbians but ruthlessly 'anti-male' in their outlook.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous DaveP. said...

If it's running an IV into my arm, giving me my pain medication, looking for a vein to draw from, stitching up the relic of my most recent dumbass move, or giving me a vaccine, I could give less of a rat's ass which washroom it uses or what it dates. All I care about is if it's competent (and I've had a few who weren't, believe me).

If the person on the table DOES care, obviously they haven't been hurt badly enough to need a nurse in the first place.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

Holy Crap Batman.....so of those folks are the most ignorant people I have ever heard. As someone who is male and going into nursing I take offense to many of those comments, surprisingly I am more offended by the comments talking about nurses not being educated, or too stupid to be a doctor. If you have never taken a nursing course you will never know just how smart a nurse is. Was not as offended by the comments about male nurses being gay or not real men....I suppose that means I am confident and comfortable with my own masculinity.

I am certainly not in it for the money, as I have another degree where I can make much more money than I can being a nurse, I am in it because I really enjoy the medical field, and I feel that sometimes nurses get down and dirty more than some doctors, and I would rather be in an ER/ED trying to save someone's life, than sitting in a conference room or writing a prescription (no offense to doctor's, you guys are great as well).

Great post X, I was actually thinking about this topic the other day.

10:01 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Half of our nightshift ICU is male some nights none of us are gay but most of us carry concealed. Some of our male nurses are very caring people and then there's me who gets the whack jobs in 4 pt restraints.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Dr. Bill said...

Hello Fellow Male Nursing Students: As a PhD in Biochemistry (1998), and a member of the male-dominated profession of Investment Advisors (25 years), as well as a professor of Biology at a local community college, I signed up for nursing school (w/free tuition) and made it 3 out of the 4 semesters. My clinical instructor HATED me because of my PhD and had asked why I told people that I had a doctoral degree. She claimed it was me wanting to razzle-dazzle people! I now realize that it was because I HATED nursing school and was ashamed of being there! She also hated me because I had a higher professorial status than she! My school was NOT male-friendly! By the way, not one of the nursing instructors could properly teach!

8:43 PM  

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